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Conflicting Resolutions Set up Battle over Article V Constitutional Convention

Now that the ACLU got Rep. Sue Peterson to “fix” the silly state seal bill, the Legislature can turn to really important matters, like debating all over again whether the states should call an Article V Convention and throw the United States Constitution to the whims of ALEC.

Two—two!—competing Article V resolutions popped into the hopper today. Senate Joint Resolution 3 copies language from a failed 2016 resolution calling for a convention of the states “limited to proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States that impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for federal officials and for members of Congress….” This retread tacks on verbiage from a failed 2017 resolution attempting to argue that the states can prevent a runaway convention, but my arguments against such a resolution and such a convention remain the same: a convention of the states is ALEC-backed nonsense aimed at removing Constitutional obstacles to complete corporatocracy, and no state resolution can prevent a convention, once called, from writing whatever amendments it wants. If you want a runaway convention that could repeal both the First and Second Amendments, go ahead, support SJR 3.

One upside to SJR 3: its 23 sponsors, all Republicans, led by Senator R. Blake Curd and Rep. Lynne DiSanto, are all explicitly rebuking Trumpism. By cutting and pasting language from an Obama-era resolution, these Republicans are declaring that federal government controlled by Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and the Republican Party is creating crushing debt, imposing manipulative unfunded mandates, and ignoring the Constitution.

But hey, I can rebuke Trump without crashing the Constitution.

SJR 3 will run headlong into House Joint Resolution 1003, which calls for repeal of a 2015 resolution that some time-wasting ALEC attendees actually got through both chambers calling for a Constitutional Convention limited to creation of a balanced budget amendment. Sensible states have been rescinding such resolutions, recognizing that ALEC is full of crap and that an Article V convention would be uncontrollable and dangerous.

HJR 1003 gets style-and-form points over SJR3 for proper structure. The Senate resolution tacks its esoteric arguments into a sprawling Resolved clause, which is supposed to be reserved for calls to action. The House resolution rebuts those shaky Senate/ALEC arguments where they should be rebutted, in the Whereas clauses. To boil down the arguments of HJR 1003:

  1. Only Congress can set the rules for an Article V convention.
  2. The states thus can’t restrict the topics delegates address (which SJR 3 hopes to do).
  3. The states can’t impose rules of order to ensure, for example, that each state gets one equal vote (which Con-Con backers’ hopes hinge, since they need to check the power of New York, California, and other godless bastions of liberalism whom God has strangely blessed with much larger populations).

The House resolution rejecting a constitutional convention has 33 sponsors, including six Democrats. No sponsor overlaps with SJR 3, so no one is taking the position that we could rescind the 2015 balanced budget convention resolution and call for a constitutional convention on a broader range of topics. The language of the two resolutions prevents any Aye-overlap from attentive legislators. SJR 3 says an Article V Constitutional convention is a great idea. HJR 1003 says it’s an awful idea that the states cannot control.

Resolutions usually don’t matter, but these could, since 33 other states passing such resolutions would cause Congress to call a convention. Let’s keep the Constitution safe from that peril: Vote YES on HJR 1003 and Vote NO on SJR 3.


  1. OldSarg 2018-01-22 18:29

    Wouldn’t it be nice to have the people of the state represented in the Senate as opposed to Repubs/Dems?

    In my opinion if we repeal the 17th Amendment we could return power to the states as opposed to the parties. A Constitutional Convention is the only path, as the parties are running the Nation of the people.

  2. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-22 18:36

    OS, an Article V convention won’t create the more representative South Dakota Legislature you say you crave. Instead of playing with these ALEC schemes to manipulate the federal government, perhaps you would prefer that our legislators focus their efforts on practical state issues?

  3. Richard Hilgemann 2018-01-22 21:17

    The CON! of the “con con” (constitutional convention)…
    Sold under the guise of a proposed balanced budget amendment. Yet when I express concerns about deficit spending to fund our troops the proponents assure me there will be an exemption for defense spending. This will only create an abuse and further expansion of defense spending. All the while no federal budget will actually balance in its wake. In my opinion we are opening up the constitution to great risks for zero possible gains.

  4. o 2018-01-22 23:34

    The original Constitution and Bill of Rights were not written by the party “in power.” Before partisanship, there was open discussion of what was best for the country – what was so essential that it required foundational spelling out.

    I suppose that laws will always sway according to the party in power. I suppose the party in power always wants to take steps to ensure their laws are as eternal as possible, but ALEC really takes all this one step further with the Con Con. The FAR Right now wants to use their temporary (if we have learned anything from politics, it is that over time the pendulum swings both ways) majority to enshrine a permanence to their political agenda. They wish to remake the very fabric of the US in the current image of their political leanings. That is just too much. In the context of creating permanence to a political ideology, the mind boggles to the possibilities and extremes a redefining of the roots of the government could be perverted to ensure law/rights/political leanings in vogue now could never again be changed.

    If Con Con 2 is ever gaveled into session, all bets are off.

  5. Clyde 2018-01-23 05:38

    It’s sad that so few elected officials have a clue as to how banking in this country actually works. The information has been out there for a long time. The country doesn’t need a balanced budget amendment but rather actual control over the private federal reserve banking system. Watch you tube ‘true leaders of planer earth’ to get a little history on the real problem.
    There is a movement in the nation for a constitutional convention to overturn ‘citizens united’ that allowed big money to have control over our government as well. I believe some 16 states are on board for that right now. So, I say, bring it on ALEC. Lets see who should be in power in this country. Some sort of revolution is eventually inevitable anyway with the way things are going and moves toward a constitutional convention are hardly new news anyway. I believe that prohibition and its repeal involved a convention.


  6. mike from iowa 2018-01-23 07:55

    If ever there was a time and place the voter’s intentions be overturned, it is with the Russia backed government we now have and the attempts to take from everyone and give to the wealthy.

  7. o 2018-01-23 08:04

    I get where Mike and Clyde are going with the hope of a model to reform the mess we are in, but any Con Con will come down to who is seated as delegates. Right now, looking at national state legislatures, it doesn’t favor the good guys.

  8. Paul T 2018-01-23 13:57

    An article V convention cannot crash the Constitution. It is an essential check to the power of the federal government. Over half of the 17 amendments that have been added since the Bill of Rights have occurred after states passed resolutions calling for a convention. There are two ways to PROPOSE an amendment, 2/3rds Congress or 2/3rds of the State Legislatures pass a resolution calling for convention. The convention merely PROPOSES an amendment, much like what happens when 2/3rds Congress does it, except in the case of a convention, the amendment that is proposed has to solve a certain problem that is identified in the resolution (per the DOJ who has written a lengthy report on the subject). Assuming 2/3rds of the states call for a convention, and assuming that the convention DOES agree to a proposal it STILL has to be sent to the states to only be ratified if 3/4ths agree. So … essentially these resolutions are going nowhere. Even if a convention is called, unless it is something that is truly something that 3/4th the states believe is a good amendment, it won’t be ratified.

    Consider the 17th amendment passed in 1912 and ratified in 1913 that made it mandatory that US Senators be elected directly by the voters instead of being appointed. Congress refused to do anything about this until it was clear that 2/3rd of the states were going to get a resolution passed. But it wasn’t going to happen until it was clear enough states would also ratify the amendment. So, Congress went ahead and saved themselves the lost political will which it would have caused.

    Consider the FREE and FAIR election resolution that the Wolf-PAC has passed through several states currently. The language in the resolution is clear that the amendment must be created to overturn the legal effect of Citizens United. Many admit, even Senators like McCain and Graham, that in our current political climate the only thing is going to negate Citizens United is an amendment – which will not be proposed by the Congress that benefits from it – or a different SCOTUS which could take decades. What the convention’s proposal would look like specifically would be up to the delegates, but they could neither propose additional amendments or propose an amendment that didn’t achieve what their resolution mandated. This means if we ever had an article V convention, the delegates would need to be very deliberate in appealing to large states and small states, conservative states and liberal states, when crafting the final amendment to be ratified.

  9. Clyde 2018-01-23 15:10

    Thank you Paul T! Obviously more knowledgeable than this old farmer who has trouble remembering what he did yesterday.
    In the case of Free and Fair and Wolf PAC I believe that citizens on the right and the left can both agree that big money is running this country and that it should be stopped. If there ever was an indication of that this last tax bill is it. Now all we have to do is wake up the deaf and dumb electorate.

  10. Paul T 2018-01-23 15:24

    You are very welcome Clyde! You are right about the F&F Resolution. I have talked to a handful of conservative legislators in SD who would likely support it if we got it to the floor (which is another matter) but I only started volunteering for them about 8 weeks ago. Not enough time to rally enough support for a sponsor and get it voted on.

    Wolf-PAC is well organized, offers a lot of training and support, and respects people’s personal time. Hopefully by this summer we will generate the support it needs to get through both chambers in South Dakota in 2019. If anyone is interested in learning more – please email our national coordinator, Joan Laundy at

  11. o 2018-01-23 15:42

    There is a yuge difference between a state legislature (or groups) taking up a specific amendment to the constitution and an Article V Convention. I worry good ideas like the Wolf-PAC’s will become the stalking horse for Citizens for Self-Governance to throw open the doors and let all the crazy in.

  12. Paul T 2018-01-23 16:43

    O – A lot of people are confused about article V conventions which is understandable because there is a lot of lazy speculation and sensationalism around it. Luckily for us you can go right to the Article and read it:

    “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.”

    So in essence, when you say there is a “yuge” difference – between an article V convention and groups petitioning amendments to the constitution you could not be more wrong. That is EXACTLY what an article V convention is.

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-23 16:56

    Paul T; I disagree. The Con Con the Kochs want could crash the Constitution in the same way that allowing a crowd on the street to open my computer up and start tinkering could crash my computer and end me up having to buy a whole new machine. It is possible that the new machine could work better, but it could also be a disaster. And for the most part, the machine I have works really well. Why gamble on a whole new machine?

    If Wolf-PAC has a good amendment, offer it. Get it into the rotation. Get Congress and the states to ratify it. There’s no need for a dangerous convention to achieve the goal you seek.

  14. Paul T 2018-01-23 17:05

    Saying a Article V Convention is dangerous is no different that saying a democracy is dangerous. Could it be? Sure, but when you require 3/4 of the states to ratify a proposal, what is the danger?

    I’m surprised Cory, you are one of the most reasoned critical thinkers I know so please help me out here. I am basing my assumptions on the law and the precedent of 17 amendments being ratified. Yes, a few of them were not so good and had to be later repealed. What are you saying could actually happen at an Art V Convention and where do you get the information?

    You say there is “no need for a dangerous convention” but there is no evidence it would be dangerous and it is just as much our right to call one as it is our right to free speech.

  15. Debbie 2018-01-23 18:07

    If Scalia in 2014 says “I certainly would not want a constitutional convention. Whoa! Who knows what would come out of it?” I’m with him for the first time ever.
    A convention could set its own agenda, possibly influenced by powerful interest groups. The only constitutional convention in U.S. history, in 1787, went far beyond its mandate. Charged with amending the Articles of Confederation to promote trade among the states, the convention instead wrote an entirely new governing document. A convention held today could set its own agenda, too. There is no guarantee that a convention could be limited to a particular set of issues, such as those related to balancing the federal budget.

    As a result, powerful, well-funded interest groups would surely seek to influence the process and press for changes to the agenda, seeing a constitutional convention as an opportunity to enact major policy changes. As former Chief Justice Burger wrote, a “Constitutional Convention today would be a free-for-all for special interest groups.” Further, the broad language contained in many of the resolutions that states have passed recently might increase the likelihood of a convention enacting changes that are far more sweeping than many legislators supporting these resolutions envision
    The 1787 convention ignored the ratification process under which it was established and created a new process, lowering the number of states needed to approve the new Constitution and removing Congress from the approval process. The states then ignored the pre-existing ratification procedures and adopted the Constitution under the new ratification procedures that the convention proposed. Given these facts, it would be unwise to assume that ratification of the convention’s pro­posals would necessarily require the approval of 38 states, as the Constitution currently specifies. For example, a convention might remove the states from the approval process entirely and pro­pose a national referendum instead. Or it could follow the example of the 1787 convention and lower the required fraction of the states needed to approve its proposals from three-quarters to two-thirds.
    No other body, including the courts, has clear authority over a convention. The Constitution provides for no authority above that of a constitutional convention, so it is not clear that the courts — or any other institution — could intervene if a convention did not limit itself to the language of the state resolutions calling for a convention. Article V contains no restrictions on the scope of constitutional amendments (other than those denying states equal representation in the Senate), and the courts generally leave such “political questions” to the elected branches. Moreover, delegates to the 1787 convention ignored their state legislatures’ instructions. Thus, the courts likely would not intervene in a dispute between a state and a delegate and, if they did, they likely would not back state efforts to constrain delegates given that delegates to the 1787 convention ignored their state legislatures’ instructions.

    A Balanced budget would kill the economy- Go to Greece to see what austerity feels like and then put that on steriods.
    Most of the resolutions enacted in the last three years add a final clause: “together with any related and appropriate fiscal constraints.” That language opens the door to any constitutional amendments that a convention might decide fit under this broad rubric, including placing a rigid ceiling on federal spending so that all (or virtually all) deficit reduction has to come from cutting federal programs such as Social Security or Medicare, with little or none coming from revenue-raising measures. Such a ceiling would reduce or eliminate any pressure to produce deficit reduction packages that pair spending reductions with increased revenue from closing unproductive special-interest tax loopholes or from combatting tax avoidance by powerful corporations. ALEC’s most recent version of the model legislation specifically includes this additional clause.

    nothing could prevent a convention from emulating the only previous convention — the one in 1787 — by going beyond its original mandate, proposing unforeseen changes to the Constitution, and even altering the ratification rules. Some states might challenge the actions of their delegates, but with the courts unlikely to intervene, these efforts would likely fail.

    States would be prudent to avoid these risks and reject resolutions calling for a constitutional convention. States that have already approved such resolutions would be wise to rescind them.

  16. jerry 2018-01-23 18:30

    I think that we had better Make Our Own Constitution Great Again. That should not be to hard too do, it already exists. It just seems like it is being ignored by preventing the right to vote, the right of Congress to declare war (Syria) is a great example on how things can go wrong with an existing Constitution. Keep in mind that the support of this comes from those who wave Nazi Flags alongside Confederate flags.

  17. Clyde 2018-01-23 18:33

    To me it sounds as if Paul T knows what he’s talking about but lets just assume that a V convention would open a Pandora’s box.
    Do you really think it would get to that point? All parties stand the same risk and as has happened in the past it looks to me as if the problem would likely be solved before it was to get to a convention. If it would I’d like to see all petroleum and other mineral wealth nationalized! Lets get radical!!

  18. Paul T 2018-01-23 19:35


    Repeat after me – an Article V Convention is defined in the constitution, but it is NOT a constitutional convention. It is a rigorously defined method of how the states can come together and PROPOSE an amendment for a specific purpose.

    It is NOT a Constitution Amendment.

    For all the dangers you can find on what could happen, well, let me just ask – what prevents Congress from right now doing all the nasty things we don’t want? Oh yeah, the law. The Constitution. Our country is based on laws and when people do things against the Constitution, especially when they are very clear cut, they are overturned.

    This is NOT a constitutional convention. It is legally defined already, by the constitution, to have one purpose only, propose an Amendment.

    What many people seem to be hung up on is the word “convention” – like any convention could somehow magically change the constitution because long ago, simply because the Constitutional Convention of 1787 did so. Should we be concerned with all conventions? Why do you single out Article 5 conventions? Is it possible that SiouxperCon is going to suddenly be corrupted and start issuing laws and mandates? Of course not. Nobody would listen to them. Unlike the “Constitutional Convention” you mention several times, whose mandate was NOT already defined by law, this can be nothing more than a convention to PROPOSE a single amendment. It simply has no other authority and if they tried to expand their mandate, they would be tossed out of every court in the land – no matter HOW partisan the judges. If you want to be afraid people are going to corrupt the process, that’s fair. But if every lawyer and judge got together and simply decide to ignore the law, if our legislatures decide they are above the law – they are going to go after rights much more important than impacting an legal Article 5 convention whose only legal mandate is to PROPOSE an amendment to go before the states, because if they tried to bait and switch the amendment, that would clearly violate the Constitution. Any lawyer who looks at it would agree. In fact the Department of Justice has written on the topic extensively.

    There are many people on both sides that like to use the “Runaway Convention” to scare people so they DON’T come together and directly have a voice in their government. Every generation of Americans has amended the Constitution except one – THIS ONE. Your concerns are understandable, but the reality and the facts demonstrate they are not reasonable.

  19. Debbie 2018-01-23 19:43

    We don’t need to assume it would open a Pandora’s box- All you need to do is go study the last constitutional convention.
    Right Corporations are your friend ( insert crying laughing face here) and they want to give all their wealth to you
    Wolf PAC is a major scam – independent expenditures comprise a whopping zero percent of Wolf PAC’s overall expenditures, despite the fact that they told the FEC that they only intended to make independent expenditures. Operating expenditures comprised 88.6 percent ($378,471) of their overall spending, while other disbursements comprised the remaining 11.4 percent ($48,657).
    Compare that to another independent called Conservatives for Growth
    In contrast to Wolf PAC, independent expenditures comprised 94.6 percent ($11,572,502) of the Club for Growth’s overall expenditures, with operating expenditures a mere 5.4 percent ($658,749).

  20. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-23 19:47

    “rigorously defined”? The problems appears to be exactly the opposite, that there is no rigorous definition of the scope and rules of what Article V allows.

  21. Paul T 2018-01-23 20:02

    “on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states”

    The legislature has to apply for the convention. We have already lots of law that establishes the only mean to meet the requirement of “two thirds” is that the resolutions are calling for the same thing.

    So, say SD passes a resolution that we want an article 5 convention that proposes an amendment that repeals all the previous amendments, reverses the bill of rights, and establishes the 10 commandments as the new Bill of Rights. This is legal, not probably, but legal and in SD maybe even a few legislatures would think twice about it.

    Now let’s say ND is on board with this. Except, in their proposal, they call for only 5 commandments. The precedent has already been established. These are not resolutions calling for the same proposed amendment. There would be no convention until all the states agreed.

    But, let’s say that 67 states DID all agree that this was a great idea?! I’m going to guess you are like me in that you would believe something like this is much more likely for this to happen in a different way than convincing 67 state legislatures to go along with it. Much more likely for the SCOTUS to set some outlandish precedent. Or for Congress or the President to try to circumvent or drastically change the Constitution – as has happened to varied degrees of success of the country.

    But none of this changes the simple fact that all one has to do is look at and consider the resolution itself. If the resolution calls for an amendment to make healthcare a right, or to limit the power of the federal government in some way, that is all the resolution can do. We have to look at each resolution for itself. The process itself is not in anyway random or dangerous, but of course, it could be used for very dangerous things. We need not be afraid of the states assembly to propose a resolution any more than we should be afraid of the Congress’s power to regulate trade or the President’s power to wage war. And with an article 5 convention, we know exactly what it can do because it expressly limited to the resolution that called it!

  22. Debbie 2018-01-23 20:04

    Ah let’s see do I go with the Constitutional Lawyer or Forbes- Thank you I will stick with the Constitutional lawyer . Knowing that the Libertarians, Republicans, ALEC, and the John Birch Society are all wanting this really bad , you know they found out the same thing I did – They can pay off whomever they want to get what they want even in an Article V Convention.

  23. Debbie 2018-01-23 21:35

    Hang much with the Oathkeepers, Trumpsters, and Bundy ? The you tube is from a bunch of crackpots in my hood who are supported by every nut job on the FBI list.
    Your absoluterights page is the same – That piece of s*** was defending the terrorist freeman standoff group a few years ago.
    You are pretty easy to give up your freedom to corporations.
    They also think climate change is a hoax……… Ryan Zinke is God
    Nuff said about your experts – They are just looking for a easy target to fleece.

  24. Paul T 2018-01-24 05:40


    I wish I had the time to discuss all the logical fallacies you appear to have fallen victim to but it might be easier for you to research them all.

    I would invite you to pay close attention to the first three on this guide.

    Sounds like you mean you well, so I’ll just wait until you share some evidence I can consider if you want to discuss further.

  25. Debbie 2018-01-24 16:43

    Paul you just argued on the basis of a fallacy ! – One you presented a couple of whack jobs out of Kallispell who are top on the list for the oathkeepers (listed as a terrorist group) as authority on the Constitution !
    And a jerk off EX professor working for the Koch bros
    Seriously ! Give me something that is neutral and why in blazes are you trying to promote the Koch Bros – Like is he really going to tell you that he can influence a constitutional convention………….

  26. o 2018-01-24 17:16

    To me it still comes down to this: state legislatures can call for a constitutional convention to propose amendment/s to the constitution. It is an assembly not an action item called:

    “. . . on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments . . ”

    That there needs to be a narrow focus for the calling of the convention, or that the legislatures that call for the convention must have called it for the same reasons in not in text.

    There is the check of ratification of any amendments crafted at this convention, of 3/4 legislatures OR 3/4 of the state’s conventions:

    “. . .as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof . . ”

    But that is not much of a check for a run-away ALEC that has seen its influence grow and the current tally of 32 states have both houses controlled by the GOP. (I know 38 is more than 32 – I am saying swinging 6 of the remaining 12 is too close). I am not sure what the process for state ratification convention representation would look like, but I’d prefer to wait for a less red nation – a nation the swept Donald Trump to victory – before putting the foundations of the national constitution up for grabs.

    With a Supreme Court that seems very willing to throw away precedence, and 180 on constitutional rights, I don’t see a check if things do no go the limited way Paul hopes.

  27. leslie 2018-01-24 19:18

    “Two hundred billion dollars for a trillion-dollar goal is fairy dust, it isn’t real,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said of Trump’s infrastructure pledge. Chicago Tribune, today

    “The administration is expected to ask Congress for $200 billion in federal spending on infrastructure aimed at encouraging more than $1.7 trillion(Trump said) in state, local and private financing to build and repair the nation’s bridges, highways, waterworks and other infrastructure.”

    Senator John Thune, told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday that the big challenge “would be how do you pay for it and the (Trump administration is) talking about spending cuts, which are unspecified.” Reuters today

  28. Debbie 2018-01-25 13:53

    Leslie ,
    I suspect that “State , local, and private ” would mean more sales taxes here.
    As for the private it’s nothing new- Toll roads , nothing more than taxpayers handing over chunks of tax dollars so that private investors ( who now have more money due to tax scams) can make huge profits because we have no choice but to use their roads.
    Medicaid , Medicare, and SS are going to be cut just as soon as the budget is passed but Trump has already more than spent that money.

  29. Clyde 2018-01-25 22:14

    Back to the subject of a V convention…..

    Folks a revolution is coming one way or another. I think a convention is inevitable. Sanders support should tell you all the real mood of the country and if ALEC keeps getting its way the pendulum will swing.

  30. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-27 06:35

    Oh, Clyde, I think we can and should evit that convention. We can achieve our revolution through normal electoral means without falling for ALEC’s trap.

  31. Paul T 2018-01-27 07:13

    There is no trap! All you need to know is in the resolution. If the resolution is to throw away the bill of rights then yes, it’s very dangerous! If the resolution is to overturn citizen united then that is ALL that could happen.

    This is so ridiculous I’m struggling to communicate. Its like all of a sudden people weren’t just afraid of specific laws – but passing laws in general! “Well if we pass a law to raise/lower taxes, who knows? Maybe the governor will interpret that to change other laws? So we should stay away from what could be risky law changing and just do nothing!” Umm, no. That is NOT how laws work. Article V conventions are CLEARLY LIMITED to the proposal they make. They cannot be “changed” at a convention any more than a district attorney can decide to change the state laws they don’t like. Well, they can try but it isn’t going to work.

  32. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-29 06:22

    There is a big difference between changing the law and changing the Constitution. More caution is merited here, and even more caution is warranted by noting the yahoos proposing opening up the Constitution to suit their corporate agenda.

  33. Paul T 2018-01-29 07:00

    Cory, then I assume you would just rather states didn’t have this power per article 5? Since that must be true I need to know why you would or wouldn’t still want Congress the ability to change the Constitution by proposing amendments. Makes no sense to me that someone would want Congress to have the power but NOT states. Unless they didn’t understand that because of the clear wording of article 5, no ambiguity there on this point, the only amendment that could be proposed would have to be what was called for by the resolution. Which I think is the case with you is it not? Isn’t what you are really saying is that somehow you think the gathering other delegates is somehow going to propose amendments OTHER than they are mandated to by resolution, correct? Or is something else supposed to happen?

    It isn’t fair to keep saying you fear this but won’t explain what in detail. How can I specifically argue that such fear is unjustified if you don’t provide details? So let’s just assume it is like I suggested. The convention agrees on the wording of a PROPOSAL and they send to all the states to ratify. AND we are shocked to learn the proposal is nothing like what was called for in the resolution we passed! According to the DOJ, it wouldn’t matter if 3/4th states ratified it or not because no court would uphold the amendment. The SCOTUS would have to recognize that the amendment was proposed and ratified legally before it was actually ratified, which in this case, no matter how much we loved or hated the amendment, it would not have been.

    Our law allows us to change the Constitution. These are our laws. If you want to dump the states right to amend the Constitution because you are “afraid” of it then I think you owe me, as a friend and fellow enlightened friend of Democracy, a specifically explanation what you fear could happen so I could understand too and maybe petition a change. Otherwise I’m afraid your opposition appears to be disingenuous political opportunism, and nothing more. Article 5 conventions are critical to the correct steerage of this country and have been since it began. I think a little discussion on it before we follow your lead and tear it up is justified.

  34. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-29 20:47

    No, Paul, I’m saying the power Article V grants appears to be dangerously vague.

    I’m not convinced the states are calling for a Constitutional Convention. ALEC is. ALEC is buying legislatures and getting enough of them to sign onto a project that will make it extremely easy for ALEC to make lasting changes that would further entrench corporate power.

    I like the Constitutional tools we have right now to fight the corporate power. I’m not convinced that we forces of good win a Constitutional Convention floor fight right now with corporate raiders who’ve been planning for and rigging that fight for years. I’m fine with resisting ALEC’s call for this fight right now, because I think they are calling it for the wrong reasons. They want to grab the Constitution and rig it in their favor before they lose to the impending wave of more diverse, more progressive voters who will replace Trumpocracy.

    Let’s win elections first. Let’s win back a couple dozen state legislatures. Then let’s call our convention.

  35. Paul T 2018-01-30 06:25

    1) For the X number of times, please tell me what you are afraid of happening Cory. The reason you can’t do this is the EXACT reason it isn’t dangerous. There is nothing ambiguous other than why people keep saying their are afraid.

    2) This is NOT a constitutional convention, it doesn’t say that anywhere, and its a term that CREATES some ambiguity. While the word convention is used in Article 5, it might as well be assembly. If we changed the wording to “amendment proposal assembly” do you think that would make you and presumably others feel better?

    3) When you say “you like the tools we have right now” they are the exactly tools already expressed in Article 5. What makes them less vague and scary?

    It is really frustrating you ignore my question to be specific as to what you think COULD happen, at every turn you get and try to change the subject. That might be a good tactic, but it is the antithesis to a good discussion.

  36. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-30 06:58

    Paul, I find it sufficient to respond that I’m not going to respond to a call for a Constitutional Convention called by ALEC. I’m not going to fall into their trap.

    Article V is a tool. We have several other tools we can use first, like elections. Similarly, nuclear weapons are a tool, but we have several other tools (like, every other tool) to try before resorting to them.

    I said what could happen in the original post and offered links with more: delegates disregard the unenforceable dictates of the resolving states and erase the First Amendment, or the Second, or the Fourth. Our energies are better directed elsewhere.

  37. Clyde 2018-01-31 01:34

    Well it seems to me that the fact that there is a movement toward a V convention demonstrates that all the options that Cory endorses aren’t working! If the country is so afraid of a Convention then efforts to avoid one had better be drastically stepped up!
    The people of this nation are sick and tired of big money being in control!

  38. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-31 10:21

    No, Clyde, the fact that lots of people drive cars to school doesn’t mean my bike doesn’t work or isn’t a superior form of transportation. The fact that lots of lunkheads carry guns doesn’t mean other forms of public security have failed.

    If you’re sick and tired of big money being in control, Clyde, why would you heel to the call of big money/ALEC for a convention?

  39. Paul T 2018-01-31 10:38

    You may find it sufficient Cory but repeating fake terms amounts to spreading propaganda and that doesn’t help your reputation! (I speak of repeatedly calling it a “constitutional convention” to elicit fear and worry even after you have been corrected).

    The Department of Justice has directly refuted the links you provided, and no serious constitutional scholar that is any way a democrat (small d) would agree that there is any more inherent danger. But let’s put the facts aside since nobody wants to talk about them anyway.

    If there was only time, this would be a great topic to record a discussion over :)

    Look – of course, Alec wants to use article 5 – just like they use state legislatures, judges, and every other legal tool at their disposal. Should we disband legislatures since Alec “wants” to use them? Should we just throw out democracy in general because its corrupted? Unlike all the other tools and means you describe that you consider “safer” using article 5 has eluded the Kochs. The problem for them is it requires too many people to support!

    Maybe we are talking about two different things here. You know that there can be hundreds of resolutions calling for distinct assemblies correct? This is basically the NATIONAL ballot initiative process. Yes, Alec has their article 5 resolutions, and I don’t doubt you very much they there are bad and probably illegal, but there are others that have them too and they are good. Would you call the bad ones TRAPS though? Do we call bad legislative bills “traps”? Yes, I guess we do in cases where it is HARD to figure out exactly where the law will hurt us. Is the solution 1) rally support to stop the bill by digging deep and doing the hard work to find out what exactly is bad or 2) try to throw out the law-making process in general by calling it scary, and say making laws in general is a trap?

    I don’t know much about the ALEC resolutions, but no doubt I wouldn’t support them. But the Wolf-PAC resolution to reverse Citizen United? You wouldn’t support that because you are afraid of Article 5?

    Perhaps you have made a rational decision that it is EASIER to spread falsehoods about the whole article 5 process rather to stop them with action. If that is what is going on here, it is really short sided. Article 5 is THE PRIMARY MEANS that the American people have made REAL change in this country in every generation we have existed. And good democrats like yourself are actually slandering the method over a short-term battle? I don’t think you have considered the consequences and looked at the history.

    The Wolf-PAC resolution is to REVERSE citizens united to get big money out once and for all. You are playing right into their hands. I wouldn’t be surprised if they KNOW that article 5 is their biggest weakness and most effective way to completely erase their influence so they try and scare those of us truly fighting for the people, so that we should stay away from using it.
    Please put some more thought into this Cory. This could be a really, really good thing that could fix many of our problems much MUCH more effectively than changing the state legislature and or trying to get rid of money in Washington one herculean battle for a seat after another.

  40. Clyde 2018-02-05 08:36

    Good luck Paul!
    The fact that so many have been convinced that because the word “convention” is in this process that it is a very scary thing that must be avoided at all cost’s means you have a real battle.

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